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The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has updated its mobile ticketing application called UTS, reports Firstpost. The app, which lets users book unreserved tickets on daily suburban trains in Mumbai and Chennai, now sends soft copies of the ticket to the user’s smartphone instead of having them print it out at the automated ticket vending machine (ATVM).

The updated feature is only available to users of Western Railway’s suburban system between Churchgate and Dahanu Road. According to Railway officials, the feature will be extended to all users after the 15th of August, depending on user response on the current available route. Strangely, the app’s page currently mentions it’s paperless ticketing feature is available for certain sections of Chennai suburbs only.

The app is currently available for Android and Windows Phone, with an iOS version still in the works. As for payment, users will have to first load money into the app’s ‘wallet’, either through a ticket counter at a railway station, or through the IRCTC website using a credit or debit card. Users will also be able to renew season’s tickets using the app. The UTS app was launched in April and other than booking tickets, lets users cancel tickets, maintain their profile, manage frequent travel routes, etc.

CRIS, which created the app, is a society set up by the Ministry of Railways in 1986 that takes care of  passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement, etc. Other apps in its kitty include the NTES (National Train Enquiry System) app that lets users spot trains, check schedule etc., and the COMS (Complaint Management System) app that lets users register complaints.

Railway Budget: During the railway budget presentation in February this year, the agency had outlined plans to introduce a consumer complaint facility, an e-catering service, a multi lingual e ticketing portal, an integrated customer portal, WiFi plans and on board entertainment on select trains. Interestingly, the Railway Minister had said then that it received over 20,000 suggestions through social media, some of which were incorporated into the budget. The Railways had said then that it would enable the booking of unreserved tickets on smartphones using debit cards.